For me, feedback is one of the most difficult things to get from a podcast audience. In the nearly six years I’ve been making GEEK THIS, I’ve had a handful of comments or responses to any given episode. Naturally, that would be grounds for me to believe everything’s OK and the show is fine the way it is.
This week I employed Hall of Fame podcaster, Dave Jackson, to review my podcast for his, Podcast Rodeo. The results were not what I expected, but they were a learning experience and have given me some good pointers on what I need to improve on. Below is what he wrote about the Shaun of the Dead / Halloween Double Feature episode which was released on 10/24/18:
I liked the way the show started off with the introduction. You explain what the show is about, and then what you would cover in the episode. You did a good job of explaining how to subscribe and then got right to the content. Then after the introduction explained what the show is, you did again (quickly, just an FYI). Then after explaining what was coming on the show before the subscription part, you explained again what was going to be on the episode (not needed). Then when you bring in your co-host you use the “two people – one microphone” recording technique and it really makes your audio take a turn for the worse. You can easily buy two microphones and a mixer or a Focusrite interface and boost your audio quality.
Then the conversation sounds a little like you’re not sure where you are going. I would advise you both know what points you want to make and then share the bullet points so you can keep the show moving. It sounds a bit like a planning session with alot of “I don’t know,” or “I didn’t see that.” You shouldn’t be finding this out with the recorder going. While I understand you want this to be a conversation (and I admire that), I would still have a clear idea of where you were going, what points of view you wanted to share, and then start recording. The current version seemed a little lost.
As I said before, this is a learning experience for me. Dave has brought things to light and, frankly, some of it is hard to swallow, but I want to talk about what I’ve learned from not just the notes above, but from the actual audio file he sent me of the Podcast Rodeo episode.
1. Avoid Repeating Your Intro
This particular problem occured simply because I wasn’t paying attention during my editing process. Also, if I would have planned better – an issue he discusses later – I would have had no problem moving into our conversation flawlessly.
2. Use The Microphones
I’ve never wanted to go back in time more than when I heard Dave’s reaction to the change in audio quality. I went from my solo-recorded intro which has this close “in your head” feel, then it transitions into an echo chamber. OK, maybe not that bad, but there’s a lot of room noise here, simply because I didn’t want to set up the two microphones I brought with me. I just turned on my H4N Pro and recorded. I won’t be doing that again. I had two good, trusted microphones, and I left them in my gear bag out of laziness.
3. Plan Plan Plan
Typically, when I’m doing a solo episode, I have everything written out. I know where I’m going and what I want to say. Group episodes always trip me up because (a) I don’t do them that often and (b) I want it to feel natural. The sheer lack of planning for this episode was felt right off the bat. I know David (my co-host) and I felt it as we started, which hurt us in the long run. I should have written notes and shared them with David so we were sympatico.
4. Get Some Dang Energy
I record episodes – in this instance, the intro – when my wife and daughters are in bed. That means I’m not as loud or excited as I should be and I finally know that it translates the exact same way in the final audio. I can be an excited and energetic person. Unfortunately, this episode (and most likely many others) don’t show that. Maybe I need to go back to a standing desk? Maybe I need to determine a better schedule and record at some other time that midnight?!
These are all things to be considered. Instead of crawling into a hole and crying about how bad of a podcaster I am, I’m going to step it up, make changes, analyze everything again, and then get a full review from Dave Jackson again via Podcast Review Show.
Have you listened to GEEK THIS? I’d love it if you could give me some feedback on the show. The goal is to make the podcast better, so any little bit helps.